MEET TO WATCH: Shamocus Patton Benton Tiger Relays

Benton's Isabelle Russell (5:17.43) is ranked No. 5 in Louisiana among returners in the 1600m

Teams from four Louisiana parishes will converge on Benton High School Thursday afternoon for the first outdoor track and field meet of the 2022 season for teams in North Louisiana. It will be the Shamocus Patton Benton Tiger Relays. Teams competing include Benton, West Monroe, North Desoto, Haughton, Loyola Prep, Parkway, Airline, and Northwood.

Patton was a student-athlete who graduated from Benton High School in 2000. He was shot and killed on August 25, 2000, the night of the Bossier Parish Jamboree. He was at the jamboree to watch his younger cousin play for the Benton Tigers. Patton had planned to walk on and play football for Louisiana Tech. 

"I would like people to know that Shamocus was raised by strict, religious grandmother and mother," Tori Patton, Shamocus' first cousin said. "He loved the Lord and it was knowing that which helped us get his grandmother and mother through the loss. He was a wonderful person."

Patton's name still hangs in the Benton Tiger Fieldhouse as he was a part of the school record 400 meter relay.

"I would like for people to know that Shamocus was raised by a strict, religious grandmother and mother. He loved the Lord, and it was knowing that which helped us get through the loss. He was a wonderful person. We miss him every day."

Tori Patton, Shamocus' cousin

There will be a ceremony to remember Patton before the running of the 800 meter relay. Field events will begin at 3 pm. Running events will begin at 4pm. 

West Monroe will make their annual outdoor opening trip to the north Bossier Parish.

"We just like running against different competition," West Monroe head coach Dwain McDuffie said. "It's a chance for us to see some different competition."

The Rebels, who compete in District 1-5A, will spend most of the 2022 in northeast Louisiana. 

The Rebels will be led by distance runner Landon Spears, sprinter Javori Sanders, 300 hurdler Matthew Malcolm, and javelin thrower Corbin Gann.

Sanders is seeded No. 2 in the 100 meters, trailing only Haughton's John Ecot. Malcolm is seeded No.1 in the 300 hurdles. Gann is seed No. 1 in the javelin. 

"Spears will have his work cut out for him running against the kid from Benton," McDuffie said. "Mason Haley will be tough to beat, and Gabriel Falting from Parkway will be in there too."

McDuffie, who has been coaching at West Monroe for 28 years, knows a thing or two about distance running. McDuffie has been to Kenya, not once, but twice to find out the secret to their success.

"Their thinking is a little different," McDuffie said. "They're all in. They run hard and when they are done, they are done. They laugh at the cool down. They will go fast for five miles. The next week, they will keep the same pace and try to go six miles."

McDuffie brought back some of the concepts learned to help the West Monroe distance runners.

In the girls' division, host Benton High School is a heavy favorite to keep the first place girls' team trophy at Benton. The Lady Tigers are led by distance runner Isabelle Russell, hurdler Jamie Willis, and Sadie Hamby in the throws

Other season opening meets in the North Louisiana will include the Cougar Relays on the campus of Cedar Creek High School in Ruston on Friday, and the D&H Relays at ULM on Saturday.